Thursday, May 12, 2005


Instead of the daily story I decided to post a rant. That's what blogs are for, right? Destiny, fate, and much, much worse, the Deutsche Bundespost have played a cruel joke on me. I ordered a book, and through no fault of the sender, the book that arrived was a completely different one. Imagine how perplexed I was to find, instead of the literary title I had ordered, a work in Portuguese, by Professor Marcelo Lopes de Souza, entitled "O Desafio Metropolitano - Um Estudo sobre a Problematica Socio-espacial nas Metropoles Brasileiras." Without confiding in babelfish I take it to be a socio-economic analysis of the problems of Brazil's metropolitan areas, a book I wouldn't choose to read even if it were in English. No offense to the subject or to Professor Lopes de Souza who I am sure has written a classic in its own right. I simply detest reading analyses of any kind. I wanted literature.

Upon opening the package I was at first perplexed. Upon closer inspection it became apparent that the package had been opened and resealed with tape labeled clearly with the "Deutsche Bundespost" name and logo. The package also had a stamp of inspection by the German customs office. The original book may have been stolen!

I dialed the Bundespost's customer service number only to hear a recording that they'd all gone home. I looked at the clock. It was 8 PM, the time their service goes to bed. I went to their Website and poured all of my inspiration, creativity and bitterness into a letter of complaint, including a demand for reimbursement. But I know it will do no good. They will tell me the package wasn't insured, it wasn't registered, it wasn't properly packed, etc. etc. In short, that it wasn't their fault.

But I couldn't lose any more time with this. I had a story to write for my blog. I wrote a story. And then I wrote another one. I found that this incident had so affected me that I was taking my anger out on the characters, doing terrible things to them that they did not deserve. If only the chance combinings of indeterminacy had left me with a book of equal value to me or better it could have been so different. But this was just pure meanness. Even worse, my muse is away for the week visiting her parents. She might have cheered me up, but without her by my side, I'm afraid this has fed on my mind.

Then I decided. I will not rest. Though I may be fighting German windmills, I will not surrender. The German windmills have been provoking me for years, and this was the last straw. This is war. I will visit their Deutsche Bundespost. I will speak to them firmly and not without a crazed glint in my eye. I will pursue this matter until I have seen every office and desk in every branch office and headquarters of their entire organization. Some of the employees I will see so often we may even become friends, greeting each other by first name, and talking over old times, when I first began complaining. I may even see my original book lying in the open, on someone's desk. When this is all over I will either have my money back from them or I will be left with a masterpiece of non-fiction surpassing "Der Prozess" by Kafka.

Getting my mind to other things I would like to announce that this month's prize for the weekend story contributions will be a book by Marcelo Lopes de Souza on the problems of urban Brazil. If life gives you a lemon, make lemonade. There. I feel better now.

Story #216

Note: This story is dedicated to Princess Dominique

17 comments:

viruswitch said...

"Dumm gelaufen!"

There is no excuse for such a thing, unfortunately there are everywhere "small" people who dont have the slightest respect for others property. I am sorry about your book.

I enjoyed the fact that you sent them a letter, I really wish I could read it, because I am sure its a masterpiece of its kind :D.

I dont know if that makes you feel any better but I will narrate 2 incidents that happened to me.

1. My suitcase got opened in an airport when I was flying, they stole some sweets and tore a huge envelope where I hat some documents inside.

2. My mom sent me a package with some clothes and a pair of shoes, all fitted in a small packet actually, and it didnt arrive, only after 8 months had passed!

What can I say... good luck with it and I hope you get your book soon!

alix said...

i laugh not *at* your angst, i laugh *with* it!
but seriously, that stinks about the book...i hope you recover it or are otherwise compensated.

i loved the part about how you'd end up befriending some of the posties. and i laughed heartily at the prize. thanks!

Cori said...

Go get 'em Indie!

Indeterminacy said...

Elveshat: "Das kannst du laut sagen!" That letter was very colorful. I wrote then everything I was thinking. I didn't try to be polite, because I know I'm not going to win, anyway. Also, I wrote it in English because I wanted the insults to be grammatically perfect. I'm sorry to hear that you had some bad luck like this, too. Thanks for feeling with me. I already felt better after writing all that down.

Alix: I'm glad I was able to amuse you. That was actually what I wanted to do. And there is a bright side to all this: I looked up the book and it actually sells for a few dollars more than the one I actually bought. Also, I read an English synopsis. The book is about the affects of crowding in Brazil's cities.

Cori: I feel like I've already won, or at least have the advantage on them, just by relating what happened.

The Mushroom said...

I have a friend in Budapest who gets good stuff set to her on CD by online friends, who then have to send her a second copy later on because the postal service decided they wanted first dibs. This has happened a few times and it's usually not until later that anyone discovers they have to repeat their efforts (by which time we with small hard drives have removed the original material).

Give 'em hell.

Jamie Dawn said...

Because of the announcement of that enviable prize, I will be sure to write the worst story I can think of this weekend.

viruswitch said...

Indie, what was the book you were waiting for? "Der Prozess" by Kafka ? ? ?

Anyway if that was what you were looking for then.. :

German:
http://gutenberg.spiegel.de/kafka/prozess/prozess.htm

English:
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/7849

Tom & Icy said...

I was at the Dollar Store and saw some dvd's for a dollar, so I picked one out to see what they were like. I got "The Lone Ranger" tv series from the fifties, but when I got home and played it, the dvd had "Bat Masterson" on it. I'm so upset that I'm still wiping tears!

turboslut said...

How annoying. I hope it all works out for you.

Courtney said...

Your rants are surprisingly entertaining. You need to rant more often.

weirsdo said...

I really liked the writing here. Even before I got to the Kafka allusion, I was thinking this sounded like the beginning of one of his novels: the individual so sure that he is going to get somewhere against the bureaucracy, but the surreal details already undermining the sense of purpose, sapping away the will. . . .
Anyway, good luck.

Doug said...

That was the best post I've read in a long time. Your classic, I regret but the new one! Unglaublich!

Let me at that contest!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I might compete for that book, but only if it has bar charts.

I can't read a book without bar charts.

Indeterminacy said...

Mushroom: Right now I am living in mortal terror, concerning the post. I sent three large book packages to myself in March and the six weeks they were supposed to need is already over. Plus I sent a set of cds to someone stateside two weeks ago and they still haven't arrived. What is going on?!?

Jamie: I was just kidding about the prize. Never take anything I say too seriously. After all that book and I have been through together I almost can't bear to part with it.

Elveshat: No it wasn't Kafka. I actually have a set of original Kafka editions. One is even a first edition, printed in Prague 1938. Looking at that title page is eerie, considering all that transpired in that year.
The book was Linda Dominique Grosvenor's "The Hamptons". I was getting it for our son's godmother who is in love with NYC, the setting of the book. Plus the description looked interesting. I was looking forward to borrowing it from her to read myself. There apparently evil forces out there trying to prevent people from obtaining this book. I stopped by Princess Dominique's site and she reports the book may go out of print, which is usually what happens to good books. Go check it out and if you think you might like it, order it. Click here.

Tom & Icy: That happened to me in E-bay, but not as bad. I ordered a DVD of Buster Keaton shorts and instead of volume 1 arriving it was volume 2. Which was OK, as I didn't have that yet but I really wanted vol. 1. Usually things like this have worked out for me in some tolerable way.

Turboslut: The human spirit is undefeatable. I'm just going to order another one. But until the bad vibes with the German mail have cleared up I'll have it sent to my mother.

Courtney: Ok, I'll try.

Weirsdo: Your comments are always so well written and brilliant!

Doug: I was waiting for someone to say that. I really felt a rare passion as I wrote this post/story. I'm glad it shines through.

OldHorsetailSnake: Thanks for stopping by. Your blog looks very entertaining. I'm going to add a link to it, OK? The book is just text. No charts or illustrations. But the cover is nice, an idyllic view of a Brazilian city ledged in the mountains, golden sky over it all.

Tom & Icy said...

I'm sorry. I was just being silly and asinine.

Indeterminacy said...

P.S. I have to thank all of you for your moral support in this hopeless battle. And thanks for all the kind words about the post.

princessdominique said...

Inde--thank you for the kind post (to me). I am so wishing I could hand deliver a book to you. I appreciate your support of me and my book and I'm glad you sent them a letter about your book issue. The mail here in the US is really no better. I get torn and damaged packages all the time, especially since I work in the business of books. A great way to make lemonade though--give away the book! Wonderful idea :)